How small businesses use talent marketing for talent acquisition

Editorial Team

9 min read
Two women in job interview

In 2023, the competition for top talent among employers remains strong. Unemployment fell to 3.6% in June 2023, a historically low number that makes attracting and retaining talent increasingly challenging.

One way companies can motivate talented professionals to apply for open jobs is to use talent marketing. Talent marketing techniques show off what makes your current team special and worthy of joining. It involves showcasing your employees’ expertise and thought leadership in your industry, so other industry professionals will notice your company and consider working there.

For small businesses, a talent marketing strategy can help you build credibility in your industry, stand out as a business, and attract new customers and professional candidates. A smart talent marketing strategy can enhance the position of smaller companies, and put them on par with larger corporations.

If you’ve wondered, “What are companies doing to attract talent?”, this guide explains how those starting a business can use talent marketing to strengthen their position as an employer of choice.

The benefits of talent marketing for small businesses

When you have talented employees, you can promote their strengths in marketing channels to improve your brand reputation. Some of the many diverse benefits of talent marketing for small businesses include the following:

Attracting top talent

In a competitive job landscape, today’s candidates have more choice over who they work for. According to a 2022 Qualtrics survey, 54% of U.S. employees would be willing to take a pay cut to work at a company with better values. More than half (56%) of employees wouldn’t consider a job at a business with values they disagree with.

Talent marketing helps your business show off your company values by highlighting your employees’ accomplishments and thought leadership. For example, a senior leader could write an opinion piece and publish it on LinkedIn, accompanying the article with a post that includes relevant hashtags to make it more searchable. People who read the article may be more interested in and trusting in your brand.

You can also highlight your team’s company culture as a way to attract top talent. By doing things like sharing a social media post of a team’s volunteer outing, or a corporate donation to a local charity, you can promote your brand as charitable and invested in the community. These are examples of how to showcase what your business values to potential candidates.

Retaining skilled employees

In recent years, the U.S. labor market has seen an increase in voluntary employee turnover, known as “The Great Resignation”. Record-high quit rates have made it clear professionals are willing to job-hop to find better opportunities. A January 2023 poll by found a whopping 96% of professionals are open to a new job this year. 

One way small business owners can increase retention rates and employee engagement is to spotlight your workers in your marketing efforts. You can make team members feel special by featuring them on social media, interviewing them for a company blog, including them as a thought expert when you launch a new product, etc. As you include talent in your marketing efforts, encourage them to share content on their personal social media channels, which further increases your brand reach and reinforces your employees’ connection with your company.

You can also ask employees to contribute testimonials that explain why they enjoy working for your company. You can feature employee testimonials on your website, in your marketing materials, and in job descriptions to provide social proof to candidates that your business is a great place to work.

Driving business growth

As you increase the talent on your team through talent marketing, you’re likely to see better business results. Extensive research from McKinsey & Company shows a clear correlation between talent management and overall performance. The study shows that 99% of respondents who reported their company’s talent management was very effective said they outperform competitors. The ability to attract and retain talent also correlates with outperformance.

You can make top talent at your company business leaders who inspire, lead, and motivate other teams. The more talented and engaged your employees are, the more likely your business can:

  • Lower absenteeism
  • Improve safety and lower safety incidents
  • Boost retention and reduce turnover
  • Increase customer loyalty and engagement
  • Improve productivity and profits

As you identify top performers at your organization, devise ways to position them as thought leaders for your business. For example, you can enlist them to give speeches at local events and conferences, lead webinars, conduct training, and create content on behalf of your business.

Building a strong employer brand

To get started with talent marketing, it’s first important to create a strong employer brand. That involves:

  • Understanding your unique value proposition: Why does your business exist? What purpose do your products or services offer?
  • Creating a compelling company story: What makes the vision, mission, and people behind your company unique? Why would a stranger be interested in learning more?
  • Leveraging social media and online presence: How can you promote your value and story through search engine optimized words, pictures, and videos?
  • Employee experience advocacy and word-of-mouth: How can you motivate your employees to share content from your company? What will make employees proud to promote your company on their behalf?

When you create a strong employer brand, there’s a clear vision for your company’s purpose and your business values. You can unify brand messaging by creating a brand standards guidebook that helps your business define the tone and imagery you want to use on behalf of your brand.

Nurturing company culture

As the research shows, a strong company culture matters to today’s employees, especially younger generations, and is a major employee value proposition. According to a 2022 report by Great Place to Work, Gen Z (like millennials) are likely to leave a job if they don’t find purpose or meaning in their work. Conversely, Gen Z workers who say their work has “special meaning” are 3x as likely to stay with their employer and are 3x more likely to recommend their organization to others.

That’s why it’s so important to define and communicate company values to candidates in job openings and to new hires once they start working for you. Company values, which can include anything from creating a competitive benefits package to focusing on the importance of finding a culture fit, can help align your team, so everyone is striving toward the same mission and goals within your recruitment processes.

Other factors that can improve company culture include:

Fostering inclusivity and diversity

Companies that are inclusive and diverse are more likely to make diverse candidates feel valued, as well as are more likely to be more innovative and profitable. According to McKinsey & Company, teams in the top quartile for ethnic and gender diversity financially outperform companies in the bottom quartile by up to 36%.

You can highlight diverse team members as part of your talent marketing efforts. Also, state your company’s diversity, equity, and inclusion strategies during the hiring process.

Employee development and training

Employee development and training are highly sought out by top talent. Career development opportunities also help you improve your business performance, as employees learn new skills and can hone in on their strengths. When employees have access to career development opportunities, 93% of workers will stay longer at their company.

Company training and career development opportunities can help you attract better candidates and retain top talent. You can highlight them as part of your recruitment strategies.

Recognizing and rewarding achievements

Employee public recognition can make a major impact on talent acquisition and retention. According to Quantum Workplace, organizations with employee recognition programs have 31% lower voluntary turnover compared to businesses that don’t have a formal program. Companies with employee recognition are also 12x more likely to have strong business results.

When you recognize achievements, you reward the performer, which can motivate them to keep performing at a high level for your company. You can also encourage other employees to perform at high levels, too, so they can also be recognized.

Aligning talent strategy with business goals

For any strategy, when you start a business, you’ll need to create objectives and have measurement methods in place to track your progress and see if it’s working. To align talent strategy with business goals:

  1. Identify key business objectives: What will your talent strategy support: retention, talent acquisition, and/or productivity? Identify key performance indicators you can track that reveal whether or not your strategy is working or needs to be adjusted.
  2. Map talent needs to business needs: As you map out your goals for business growth, identify which teams and positions you’ll need to expand or create as well. This helps you align your talent acquisition strategy with your business evolution, so your goals stay on track with what your workforce is capable of providing.
  3. Continually assess and adapt talent strategy: If your business goals change, it’s likely your talent needs will, too. Check in on how your talent marketing efforts are impacting both your workforce and your business results. Adapt as needed along the way.

You can also ask your current workers what your business can do to support them. By listening to your employees’ workforce needs, you can work on a strategy to provide talent that supports them and helps you grow your business.

Competing with corporations starts with the right tools

Your small business has the potential to grow exponentially with a thoughtful talent marketing strategy. By showcasing your best employees and what they achieve in your industry, you can attract like-minded candidates who help you expand your business.

Think about ways to spotlight your talent in your recruitment marketing, via channels such as social media, content marketing, guest blogging, speaking at industry events, hosting webinars, and on your company website. When employees feel like valuable members of the team, they’re more likely to be productive and perform their tasks better. Talent marketing is a win-win for your workforce and your business.

You can also make work more meaningful and enjoyable by empowering your employees with user-friendly tools to get the job done. Clover point of sale (POS) systems include employee management software to streamline scheduling, provide visibility into performance insights, simplify payroll, and provide other user-friendly features. You can use Clover POS systems to increase transparency in your small business and help employees improve the customer experience when they accept payments.

Whether you need an advanced employee management tool to schedule shifts, a retail POS system to handle in-store transactions, a full restaurant POS system to streamline your establishment’s operations, or a POS for your service business, Clover’s POS solutions make credit card processing for small business a breeze with one sleek, user-friendly tool.

Why wait? Elevate your business, and get started with a Clover POS system today.

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